Historical Courthouse, law book

ArrowANTI-HARASSMENT



What is "unlawful Harassment"?

A knowing and willful "course of conduct" directed at you which seriously:
1. Alarms you
2. Annoys you, or
3. Harasses you and
4. Serves no "legitimate or lawful" purpose, and which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually causes substantial emotional distress to you.


What is a "Course of Conduct"?

A "course of conduct" is:
A series of acts
Over a period of time (however short)
With an ongoing purpose


How does the court determine if the acts are "legitimate or lawful"?

The Court considers the following:
Is the respondent (the person who is harassing you) contacting you or are you contacting each other?
Has the respondent been clearly told that you do not want any further contact?
Is the respondent's behavior alarming, annoying, or harassing you?
Are the respondent's actions interfering with your privacy or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living environment for you?
Has the respondent's contact with you been previously limited by a court order?


What is an order for anti-harassment?

An Anti-harassment order is a special type of restraining order which is available only to victims of harassment. It is a civil order of the Court telling the person who harassed you not to bother you again. The police are notified of your anti-harassment order. The order is fully enforceable in any county in Washington.

An Anti-harassment order can:
Restrain the respondent from contacting you.
Restrain the respondent from keeping you under surveillance.
Require the respondent to stay a stated distance away from your home or workplace.


Do I need a lawyer to get an order for anti-harassment?

No. The law has been designed so you can get an order for Anti-harassment without a lawyer by filling out the forms yourself. Because you are seeking an order of the Court without the help of an attorney, you will have the paperwork and legwork to do. It is not unusual for this to take several hours.


How do I obtain an order for anti-harassment?

You can get the forms free at the Franklin County District Court Civil Office, located on the main level of the courthouse. You need to fill out the forms as completely as possible, giving the Court written information about what has happened and why you need the court order. The clerk is not allowed to give legal advice. If you feel you need it, please contact an attorney.

You will need to know the respondent's first and last name, and an address where they can be served.

After you have completed your forms, you then will return them to the clerk.

You can return the forms on any Wednesday at 10:00am or Thursday at 9:00am.

The respondent must be served with the papers you have filed along with the notice of the hearing. Service is very important and must occur before you can get your one-year Anti-harassment order. You may have law enforcement serve the respondent with these papers.

A full Anti-harassment order hearing date will be set before a judge. This hearing will be held within two weeks. At this hearing both parties are given an opportunity to address the Court.

At the full Anti-harassment hearing, the Court will decide whether to sign your order and may make some changes. The order for Anti-harassment will generally last for a maximum of one year, but it could last longer if necessary.


May I obtain emergency protection?

If you are in immediate danger, you may obtain a temporary order for Anti-harassment prior to your full hearing in two weeks. Ask for and fill out the forms for a temporary Anti-harassment order.

Almost without exception, if you file your request early in the day, you will have a determination from the judge on the same day. You may need to explain why you need immediate protection. You must show reasonable proof of unlawful harassment by the respondent and that great or irreparable harm will be the result if the temporary Anti-harassment protection order is not granted. The judge can grant you a temporary order which must be served on the respondent, along with the notice of the hearing for the one year Anti-harassment order.

The temporary order will expire on the date of the hearing for the one year Anti-harassment order. You must attend the full hearing to extend your temporary order for Anti-harassment.


How much will it cost?

The filing fee is $83. There may also be a charge for having copies delivered (served on) the respondent. If you cannot afford the fees, the Court may allow you to go ahead without paying. Ask for and complete the form requesting fee waiver.


What if I previously filed for an anti-harassment order against the respondent?

You may not obtain a temporary order for Anti-harassment if you have already had two temporary orders against the respondent and not obtained the one-year order unless you can show the Court good cause for failing to get the one-year order. If you need to renew your one-year order, you may reapply by filing a new petition within three months of the expiration of your order.


What if I previously filed for an anti-harassment order against the respondent?

You may not obtain a temporary order for Anti-harassment if you have already had two temporary orders against the respondent and not obtained the one-year order unless you can show the Court good cause for failing to get the one-year order. If you need to renew your one-year order, you may reapply by filing a new petition within three months of the expiration of your order.


What if the person harassing me is a minor?

The District Court must transfer the proceeding to the Superior Court when the respondent is under 18 years of age.


What happens if the order is violated?

Any willful disobedience of the Anti-harassment order by the respondent shall subject the respondent to criminal penalties and the respondent may also be found in contempt of court.


What if I am the victim of domestic violence?

Victims of acts of domestic violence are required to petition in the Superior Court.